Is controlling domestic help rates in apartments becoming essential?

domestic-helpDomestic help/maids have now become a necessity for almost all households in India. Presently, with both men and women working in the 9-5 shift or more, the basic household chores need to be taken care of by the maids, cooks, nannies, drivers etc. It becomes essential that you hire the right person for all these activities that affect your day-to-day lives.

 Some of the cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad have several high-rise apartments with 700+ people residing in the same. The amount of domestic help available in such apartments should also be abundant? But this is not the case and the simple rule of economics that demand generates supply fails here. Finding domestic help is not as easy as earlier irrespective of where you stay or how much you can pay. Sooner or later you do go through the pain of finding the right domestic help and retaining the same.

 Essentially, the story remains the same whether you reside in a big apartment or small. The residents of an apartment always complain that how maids, cooks and drivers in general force residents to increase their salary. A lot of household help quit frequently to join new employers who pay them higher or just become very adamant and demand for immediate pay hikes/bonuses forcing their employers to reconsider their compensation.

 Almost all apartment associations have discussed these issues and attempt to come up with regulations to control the rates of maids in an apartment such as below:

  • Prepare a rate card for all the household activities and ask residents to pay only that much.

  • Every maid needs to carry a No-objection-certificate from her previous employer so that the prospective employer ensures she/he is not switching jobs for money.

  • Residents are requested not to deviate from the rate card.

  • Any domestic help asking for more than the agreed rates is penalized.

 The question that arises from the above pointers is that how easy is it to apply these rules to housing societies. A lot of residents were happy with the above mentioned resolutions, however some disagreed to the resolutions claiming that they were quite capitalist in nature and if doctors/engineers can demand their price, why can’t the domestic help do the same? The whole demand and supply economics lies in the scenario that if you can afford a maid for Rs. 8,000 and can very well afford it, it doesn’t matter to you if others in the apartment are paying Rs. 3,000. The others sooner or later will have to succumb to the so called “market rate” pressure and increase the salary bars.

 The resolutions mentioned above can only work if people living in an apartment work as a team with their associations and come to a common resolution wherein neither the domestic help is exploited nor are the employers blackmailed for sudden pay hikes.

 Until then people with maids/drivers working with you for more than an year, good luck in maintaining them. For people searching for a good domestic help, best of luck for your quest to find the right domestic help!